Substance abuse and mental illness are two of the most stigmatized and misunderstood conditions of the present day.

In many cases, the two go hand-in-hand– substance abuse can lead to the development of certain mental health issues, while the presence of mental health issues can often leave someone more susceptible to substance abuse during their life.

Understanding the correlation between substance abuse and mental illness is crucial for providing effective treatment for the millions of people struggling with addiction, mental illness, or a combination of the two.

Are mentally ill people more likely to struggle with addiction?

Substance use disorder very frequently co-occurs with various mental health conditions, like depression, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and more.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to why some people struggle with addiction. After all, some people who deal with mental health struggles never deal with addiction at all.

The risk factors for addiction come from a variety of places, like poverty, trauma, and general life stress. People who experience higher levels of stress and difficulty than others may turn to substances to help them cope.

Are people who struggle with addiction likely to develop mental health problems?

Individuals who struggle with addiction, who previously never had mental health issues, may develop mental health problems throughout the course of their lives.

For example, someone who struggles with addiction may develop depression or anxiety. This is because many substances affect the brain’s ability to produce dopamine. If the brain reaches low levels of dopamine, it can result in a number of mental health problems, like depression or schizophrenia.

Is it safe to assume that someone who struggles with addiction is mentally ill?

We highly discourage anyone from making assumptions about others, especially when it comes to the stigmatized subject matter of mental illness and addiction.

The truth is that both addiction and mental illness are vastly multifaceted subjects, and everyone’s journey with both of them is unique.

Although substance abuse disorder and mental health issues often co-occur, they’re not both present in everyone who deals with addiction

How can I help a loved one who struggles with mental illness and addiction?

The most important thing you can do for a loved one who’s dealing with mental illness, addiction, or both, is to show them compassion. Even if you don’t fully understand what they’re going through, you can still emotionally show up for them and let them know they have someone who cares in their corner.

However, dealing with a loved one who’s struggling with substance abuse or mental illness can be extremely stressful and taxing. If you can, please let them know that it’s possible to recover from addiction, and that you’ll support them throughout the process of doing so.

If you or your loved one have further questions about Pecan Haven and how the process of recovery works, please give us a call or have them fill out our online assessment for admission. We’re here to help you get your lives back on track.